The effect of Escherichia coli single-stranded DNA binding protein (SSB) on DNA synthesis by T7 DNA polymerase and E. coli DNA polymerase I (large fragment) using native or aminofluorene-modified M13 templates was evaluated by in vitro DNA synthesis assays and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis. The two polymerase enzymes displayed differential responses to the addition of SSB. T7 DNA polymerase, a enzyme required for the replication of the T7 chromosome, was stimulated by the addition of SSB whether native or modified templates were used. On the other hand, E. coli DNA polymerase I was slightly stimulated by the addition of SSB to the native template but substantially inhibited on modified templates. This result suggests that DNA polymerase I may be able to synthesize past an aminofluorene adduct but that the presence of SSB inhibited this trans-lesion synthesis. Polyacrylamide gels of the products of DNA synthesis by polymerase I supported this inference since SSB caused a substantial increase in the accumulation of shorter DNA chains induced by blockage at the aminofluorene adduct sites.